White Champa CO2 select extract

White Champa/Michelia alba

The essence of White Champa CO2 select extract which is obtained from the flowers of the small to medium sized tree Michelia alba is not well known in the West but is deeply appreciated in the Far East where the trees grow in abundance in the warm subtropical and tropical climates. It is mainly grown in China for extraction. There is also not a lot of literature on the flower and its uses but a few notes are presented here which should help in giving some idea of its place in the life of the people living in areas where it grows.

"My own first encounter with Michelia alba was during Chinese New Year in Taipei in the early 1980s. A Taiwanese friend and his family took me to the Lung Ching Temple in the oldest part of the city on New Year's Day. There we bought teardrop-shaped, waxy-looking ivory flowers with the most incredible perfume I'd ever smelled. Each had a small thread looped through the short stem for hanging on wire racks next to the altar. My friend explained that the scent was so wonderful, it would "rise up to Heaven and get the gods' attention" as we asked them for good fortune in the coming year.

Later, when I lived in Thailand, I'd get up at dawn for my morning walks and buy several bags of Michelia alba buds ("chom-pii" in Thai) from the flower garland sellers outside the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok. When I got back home, I'd float them in bowls so the scent permeated every room in the house. In Java, where M. alba is known as "cempaka putih," the flowers are ritually offered at temple ceremonies to mark holidays, births, or deaths."

The Jampee tree is small to medium-sized (15-14 feet high). It can be cultivated as a garden plant. The flowers are long and narrow, white in color, and strongly fragrant. They are used as religious offerings or in garlands. The sweet, pungent, alluring fragrance makes them an ideal ingredient for perfumes. A single blossom or a packet can be bought from street sellers or at a flower market. Young Thai women can often be seen carrying a blossom in their hand to sniff while strolling, sitting with friends, or wearing as a temporary string necklace. Its botanical name is Magnoliaceae Michelia Alba DC.

Heat & humidity definitely bring out the fragrance. My M. alba is in bloom right now & the wafting fragrance can be smelled from afar on a warm day but can hardly be detected on a cool day.
Here's a story to illustrate my point:
Once I took a M. alba plant on a crowded bus without air conditioning on a Hong Kong summer day which is notorious for its high humidity, all the passengers turned their heads & wanted to know what I got in my arms. For all of a sudden the stuffiness & the smell of many sweating bodies sardined together was swept away by this fragrance from heaven. The remarkable thing was there were only a couple of blossoms on the plant but that's all it took.

Olfactory Properties of White Champa CO2 select extract/China

After placing a few drops on the AromaStone the most volatile of the aromatic molecules present in the essence became activated within a few seconds presenting a first impression of a suave, sweet, floral-herbaceous bouquet with a slight fruity tinge. The aroma matures in the atmosphere in a measured way indicating a fine heart note essence.
Within a few minutes the fruity/floral bouquet becomes stronger-the floral note being of a heavy, sultry tropical character reminding one of the hot, humid air accompanying the monsoon season.(which I have enjoyed in India many times in my life) The fruity note has a peachy character to it.
A little further into the evaporation of the co2 extract in the range of 10-15 minutes a green, herbaceous note emerges with greater clarity and distinction. The overall effect of the radiated essence is one of great complexity, yet smooth, velvety, mysterious and alluring.
Very deep into the dryout, the fine, sweet, soft fruity, herbaceous aroma comes into the ascendant and remains throughout the aromatic life of the extract(for many hours)
To me this essence represents the monsoon season very beautifully with its initial heavy oriental bouquet which captures the feeling of the intense humidity and heat proceeding the downfall of refreshing, enlivening rain. The sweet, delicate herbaceous note that remains late in the dry out capturing the feeling of relief, relaxation and refreshment one experiences when the rain finally arrives.

Blends well with agalaia odorata abs; ambrette seed eo, co2 and abs; amyris eo; bakul abs; beeswax abs; benzoin abs; bergamot eo; boronia abs; broom abs; cassie abs; cananga eo; cabreuva eo; chamomile,english eo and co2; chamomile, blue eo and co2; copaiba balsam eo; coriander eo and co2; elderflower eo and abs; fir balsam abs; flouve abs; frangipani abs; guaicwood eo; gurjun balsam eo; hay abs; helichyrsum eo and abs; henna flower attar; jasmim grandiflorum abs; jasmin sambac abs; lime eo; lime essence eo; litsea cubeba eo; melissa eo, co2 and abs; magnolia lily co2; orange blossom abs; orris root eo, co2 and abs; peru balsam eo and abs; rosa damascena eo and abs; rose de mai abs; rosa bourbonia eo and abs; sandalwood eo, co2 and abs; siamwood eo; tuberose abs and attar; verbena eo and abs; violet leaf abs; ylang eo and abs; saffron co2

In perfumery would be excellent in oriental bouquets, seasonal compositions, sacred perfumes, tropical fragrances, liquid incense creations, geographical perfumes, garland compositions

Further perfumery notes-

With each passing day spent in this type of olfactory exploration of individual oils(at least one hour morning and evening with each oil) the awareness deepens that over the course of the years I have not paid proper attention to this subject. There is so many amazing aromas concealed within each oil and even the time now being spent is but an entry level study. Yet it has convinced me that with a little bit of concentrated attention one's whole experience of the beauty of each oil can be awakened at a much deeper level. Even if one were go no further with the study than to get to know each oil intimately, that time would be counted as a remarkably special event because in order to interact with any essence in a more profound way, it is necessary to slow down and simplify the life so that the time can be found to engage in that work. In this face paced modern world this can take a bit of discipline but the subject natural essences is so interesting and the benefits of finding time for that study so rewarding that it becomes a pleasure to rearrange the daily schedule for that endeavor.


Fenaroli's handbook of flavor ingredients monograph on White Champa
Volatile constituents of Michelia alba
Images of Michelia alba